Premier Mtsweni-Tsipane not wearing a mask was a human error – spokesperson

Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has since apologised for not wearing her mask with both a police officer and Deputy President David Mabuza having to tell her to cover her face.

Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane delivers the welcoming remarks during the official service for Minister Jackson Mthembu. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - After mounting backlash over the Mpumalanga premier’s failure to wear a mask at late Minister Jackson Mthembu’s funeral, her spokesperson continues to insist that the flouting of regulations was the result of human error.

Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has since apologised for not wearing her mask, with both a police officer and Deputy President David Mabuza having to tell her to cover her face.

However, in the Premier's statement, she claims that her mask was damaged and somehow fell off without her noticing.

READ: Cele to launch probe after Mpumalanga premier caught on camera not wearing mask

The premier's spokesperson Sibongile Mkami-Mpolweni said: “It does make sense and it does happen. It may not have happened to you, but a lot of people say it has happened to them.”

At some stage, a police officer told the premier that she must wear a mask and she made physical contact with the cop.

Mkani-Mpolweni said there was nothing wrong with that: “It was not a hug; she touched her shoulder. She could have fallen had she not leaned over.”

A person can be fined up to R1,500 for failing to wear a mask after being warned by a police officer.

Mkani-Mpolweni said that the premier did not break any law: “In the law, there is nothing that says you have to report yourself. The law is clear on this. It says that a police officer or law enforcement officer must warn a person for not wearing a mask and if that person resists, then that person will be arrested. If that person refuses to wear a mask, then that person must be charged. She did not refuse, when the police officer told her, one of the aiders was on the way to fetch the mask.”

Police Minister Bekhi Cele has called for an investigation into the matter.

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